A new policy that went into effect Wednesday that bans pets and bikes from Arlington National Cemetery, the Army announced.
The Army said on Monday that pets “impacted the decorum” of ceremonies and funeral services at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as the reason for the banishment.
“This policy has been deemed necessary to alleviate these impacts and continue to provide the type of respectful and contemplative space that Arlington National Cemetery strives to be,” a statement from Arlington National Cemetery reads.
Previously, the cemetery was deemed a pet-friendly attraction, as the cemetery’s policy stated that well-behaved pets on leashes are permitted in every part of the cemetery besides John F. Kennedy’s grave.
Due to the new policy, only service animals and military working dogs are allowed in the cemetery.
In addition, as a part of the new policy, the Army announced that cyclists will not be allowed in the cemetery because they unintentionally interrupt funeral services and are a safety concern.
“While we know that riders intend no disrespect, bicyclists traversing the cemetery grounds do impact funeral services and the experience that families expect and deserve as they visit their loved one’s grave,” a statement posted on Arlington National Cemetery’s Facebook page says.
“An individual visiting a relative’s gravesite or niche may be issued a temporary pass by the Executive Director to proceed directly to and from the gravesite or niche on a bicycle or similar vehicle or conveyance,” the new policy states.
The Arlington County Board and bicycle advocacy organizations in Arlington and nearby Fairfax County fought against the ban and asked officials to reconsider after the announcement in May, but they were unsuccessful.